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Preferred sleeping p[ad for forming framless pack.
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Luke Moffat
(alaska_lanche) - MLife
Preferred sleeping p[ad for forming framless pack. on 01/23/2011 18:37:19 MST Print View

I realize that how you pack a frameless pack is just as important as to what you pack into it, but what do you feel gives a framless pack the best performance?

Chris Kosiba
(NotAllWhoWanderAreLost) - F

Locale: South East United States
Similarly on 01/23/2011 18:53:04 MST Print View

I've actually had a similar question recently, is it possible to use inflatable pads such as the exped synmat 7, to support a frameless pack?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Preferred sleeping p[ad for forming framless pack. on 01/23/2011 19:01:56 MST Print View

The firmer the pad, the more form it can give to your pack. How you pack counts too, of course. But just focusing on pad types -- in order of effectiveness serving as pack "frame":

1. solid foam pads -- such as the el cheapo (but not too comfy) blue foam
2. softer foam pads -- the less rigid, more 'sponge like' ones
3. self inflating pads
4. air pads

James Stewart

Locale: New England
pads on 01/23/2011 19:06:59 MST Print View

I have heard of people using a self-inlfating sit pad as a pack support, but not an entire pad. You could try it, just inflate the pad a little bit and fold it up in a way that would fit your pack.
I use a short z-lite which I can fold so it is 2 "sections" wide and it provides a perfect support for my Jam2. I think other people also roll the pad and put it in the pack, then stuff the center with the rest of their kit.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Deploying sleeping pad as a 'frame' for your framless pack. on 01/23/2011 19:07:44 MST Print View

To add a bit more on foam pads -- such as the blue foam...

There's the technique of rolling your pad into one big circle, inserting it into your pack, and then packing your gear in the center. IMO, a more effective way is to fold your pad flat more or less into the length and width of your pack -- then insert the layers flat against your pack back -- then pack everything else in. Once your pack is cinched tight, you will then have a more rigid 'frame' consisting of multiple layers of foam pressed against the pack's back.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Preferred sleeping pad for forming framless pack. on 01/23/2011 19:35:07 MST Print View

To me, that depends on your pack, the gear you are carrying, and the type of pad you have.

Assuming you don't care what type of pad, it can depend on the pack.
Gossamer Gear packs (and some others) have a pack sleeve. Internal or external it really doesn't matter. (I also use a trimmed nightlite pad in GG packs to do this.) Too thick, and it rides the rest of the weight further out on your back. Due to leverage, not a good thing, generally. But, OK for <20#. For more weight, I wouldn't use these. Rather, a couple .5-10z stays (arrow shafts, or the like) work a bit better.

Some packs, like the Jam and ilk, like a rolled pad to create a tube like frame. This works OK, for light weights(<20#), also.

For heavier weights, 25#-30#, You can cut and tape a foam pad to shape, retaining the length (usually 1/2-3/4 or 36"-50") for additional structure. Cut exactly to the pack size, the pack and pad work quite well to create a structured pack to transfer weight to the belt/hips. This uses the interior space up pretty well, though. Soo you need about a larger 3000ci pack for a 5-7 day hike. The heavy stuff should go outside, in the pockets, since the pads will tend to push weight away from your back, but, they won't effect the side pouches. (water, fuel, tarps, etc.)

If you use any of the therm-a-rest self inflatable pads, these make OK frames, but you need some arrow shafts tucked into them for support. Alone, they work well for 15-18# but start failing therafter. The arrow shafts add about 8#-10# of support.

I cheat a bit, I use my fishing rod on one side and a tarp pole on the other, soo, they do double duty to some degree as part of the pack system. Soo, often times, you don't even need a pad for support.

You can also use a Z-Rest in the center to form a frame. Good for 10-15# loads, more with other tricks. I think SMD puts the pad pouch to one side for this, but I haven't tried his packs...but about the same idea.

I have toyed with splitting a Z-Rest, and, velcroing it back together when needed. Put each half on the inside of the pack, left and right. This works OK, too. Again, I was only carrying ~22 pounds, though.

Edited by jamesdmarco on 01/23/2011 19:38:16 MST.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Re: Preferred sleeping p[ad for forming framless pack. on 01/23/2011 19:45:38 MST Print View

I think having the right size pack or larger pack with a good compression system is either just as vital or even more vital than the pad because it allows the load to be packed tight. Then the pad doesn't have to do all the work and can focus on keeping stuff from poking you in the back.

I generally use a Ridgerest regular if I'm carrying it. A Prolite mattress with a little air in it has worked well for me too. I'm really not sure the pad matters much compared to how you pack but CCF pads seem slightly better for it just because they're so tough.

EDIT: With an inflatable I fold it up completely deflated with the valve closed and put it against the back of the pack, then I pack everything else as best I can, and lastly I open the valve and add a bit of air to firm everything up.

Edited by veriest1 on 01/23/2011 19:49:08 MST.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
inflatable on 01/23/2011 20:36:48 MST Print View

not sure if works w/ other inflatable pads, but my Neo I can fold in half length ways and then in thirds- I leave a little air in it and it makes a great "frame" for my Ion


Chris Kosiba
(NotAllWhoWanderAreLost) - F

Locale: South East United States
Larry on 01/23/2011 20:53:07 MST Print View

That inflateable pad setup is kind of what I was thinking of. I don't have a frameless pack yet, but am going to make one soon, and was wondering how the inflateable pad would work with some air in it like that. How much can it carry comfortably?

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Preferred sleeping p[ad for forming framless pack. on 01/23/2011 20:57:51 MST Print View

The Ridgerest rolled up and packed burrito style is my favorite.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Preferred sleeping p[ad for forming framless pack." on 01/23/2011 22:14:15 MST Print View

What pad I feel gives my frameless pack the best performance is my torso length foam pad folded into thirds and slipped inside my pack. This works really well for both of my packs and provides enough structure for my comfort.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Re: Larry on 01/23/2011 22:33:33 MST Print View

"How much can it carry comfortably?"

That's a good question. I've only ever used it like that with an Ion or Scrambler. Neither has room for much weight.

I'll experiment tonight and get back to you.

Rob Vandiver

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Preferred sleeping p[ad for forming framless pack. on 01/23/2011 22:40:56 MST Print View

"The Ridgerest rolled up and packed burrito style is my favorite."

I was hoping I would see this, as this is what I plan on doing. Now I just need to decide if I could do with a Solite.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
frameless packs:pad stiffnesses on 01/23/2011 22:51:23 MST Print View

I don't use inflatables, so have no comments on that.

A ridgerest is a good bit softer than a blue mat from Walmart or the like. For lighter loads, I like the ridgerest as it balances structure and flexibility. For bigger, heavier loads, the blue pad in a burrito works well.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Ok... on 01/23/2011 23:49:46 MST Print View

I took the foam panel out of my jam, stuck a Neoair short in, loaded it with about 23 pounds of gear, inflated the Neoair a bit, and walked around for a while. It was functional but not nearly as functional as the factory back panel with a Ridgerest rolled inside "burrito" style. I immediately noticed the Neoair wasn't as effective at transferring weight to the hipbelt since it could compress and deform more. Although 23 pounds isn't unbearable without a hipbelt it'd help if it would transfer better.

Experimenting with different loadings and weight placement might make a difference but the bulge from the Neoair wasn't that pleasant either. Personally I think the Prolite pads make better back panels. I'd rather pack everything tight, use the rolled Neoair as an improvised pack stay and use 1/8" foam for padding.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
OR... on 01/24/2011 00:13:22 MST Print View

... you could just get a pack with a frame and sleep on a more comfortable pad. :)

That way you'd be more comfortable both on and off the trail, IMHO.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Packing a frameless pack... on 01/24/2011 00:57:56 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 06/14/2015 21:13:04 MDT.

Karl Gottshalk
(kgottshalk) - MLife

Locale: Maine USA
Preferred sleeping pad for forming framless pack on 01/24/2011 04:43:07 MST Print View

I use a Neoair folded in 5th's for my old ULA Circuit with the pad lying against my back. It worked fine with up to 25#. It requires very little air to make it stiff.


michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Upda? on 01/17/2013 00:54:27 MST Print View

Do some people just not use any padding or frame?

I just got a xpac pack which the material is pretty thick and has decent structure in its own, I wonder if I don't even need an improvised frame as it seems okay without one.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Z Seat is Perfect on 01/17/2013 08:31:05 MST Print View

I use the Thermarest Z Seat sit pad as frame support, and I strap the larger Thermarest Z-Lite on the outside of my pack to give me the most room. I use both pads in camp and while sleeping.

Z Seat